Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/382

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Political Writing Since 1850

United States by Spain (1898), Schurz's American Imperialist (1899), and Hoar's No Power to Conquer Foreign Nations (1899).

These protests were ineffectual. The triumph of the manufacturing and commercial interests in shaping public policy was well illustrated by two practical problems: Did the Constitution and the laws of the United States apply to conquered territory without special legislation by Congress? Was Congress bound by all of the principles of the Constitution in legislating for the territories? Regarding the first of these the policy of the President was negative, and Congress took a similar position in regard to the second. The issue involved was the application of tariff duties to goods coming from the newly acquired territories, the beet sugar and other trade interests opposing free competition and demanding the application of tariff duties to Porto Rican and Philippine products. The position of the executive and the legislature was upheld by the Supreme Court in the celebrated Insular Cases, but the reasoning of the majority opinions was notoriously confusing and unsatisfactory from the standpoint of constitutional law.

Imperialism did not allay criticism of the existing order. Gradually public opinion concerning the scope and purpose of government in its relation to the general welfare underwent a transformation. The view which had long been dominant was that national prosperity depended upon the prosperity of the manufacturing and commercial classes of the country; when they flourished the labourer would enjoy a "full dinner pail," the shopkeeper a good trade, the farmers high markets, and the professional classes would collect their fees; consequently it was only right that such important matters as the tariff and monetary standards should be determined according to the ideals of the great business interests of the country. The new view was that the object of legislation should be to aid all citizens with no special privilege or regard to any one class. Its birth was in the Granger movement. It was more widely disseminated by Populism, but its ablest presentation was by William Jennings Bryan, notably in his speech before the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1896:

You have made the definition of a business man too limited in its application. A man who is employed for wages is as much a